Author Archive | Good German

Richard Dawkin’s Privilege Delusion

Matti Á (CC BY 2.0)

Matti Á (CC BY 2.0)

Rebecca Watson writes at Skepchick:

Well, PZ Myers, Jen McCreight, Phil Plait, Amanda Marcotte, Greg Laden, Melissa McEwan and others have all already said it, but I figured I should post this for the record: yes, Richard Dawkins believes I should be a good girl and just shut up about being sexually objectified because it doesn’t bother him. Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man!

When I started this site, I didn’t call myself a feminist. I had a hazy idea that feminism was a good thing, but it was something that other people worried about, not me. I was living in a time and culture that had transcended the need for feminism, because in my world we were all rational atheists who had thrown off our religious indoctrination so that I could freely make rape jokes without fear of hurting someone who had been raped.

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Cops Arrest 90-Year-Old Advocate and Clergy For Scary Crime of Feeding the Hungry

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Bound by faith and virtue to resist newly passed “homeless hate laws” in Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old homeless advocate and two ministers were arrested by a phalanx of burly cops for resolutely continuing to share food with homeless people in public, part of a “week of resistance” to a growing body of laws there and in at least 20 other cities that criminalize poor people by restricting their panhandling, camping, storing belongings, going to the bathroom and other activities deemed  “life sustaining” to the homeless – that is, essentially, for existing. The ordinance against food-sharing, which went into effect Friday, sparked a call for a week-long series of actions and protests by churches and advocacy groups; among them, Food Not Bombs vowed to mark the law’s passage on its first day, Halloween, by holding their usual weekly food share and greeting the city “with our middle fingers fully extended.”

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The Extinction of Quiet

eric snopel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

eric snopel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ilima Loomis writes at openDemocracy:

In 1989, ‘acoustic ecologist’ Gordon Hempton received a grant to document and record the natural sounds of the state of Washington in the USA. He identified 21 wilderness places to record—sites unsullied by the sounds of traffic, aviation, construction, and other human-made noise. Twenty-five years later, only three of those sites remain muted.

Little by little, our world is becoming louder, with the creeping spread of noise pollution infiltrating our homes, our workplaces, and even our wilderness.

Hempton, whose work for the past 30 years has been traveling the world to survey and record natural sound, says he’s seen firsthand how the hum, ping, and roar of modern life has taken over our sound-scapes. By his count, the United States has only 12 remaining truly ‘quiet places,’ which he defines as somewhere you can go for at least 15 minutes without hearing artificial sound at dawn, the hour when sound travels farthest.

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In Gaza, Palestinians Turn Destruction into Artistic Protest

Painting by Palestinian artist Tayseer Barakat.

Painting by Palestinian artist Tayseer Barakat.

Mariam Elba writes at Waging Nonviolence:

As the Israeli war against Gaza unfolded last summer, I wrote about a particular artist who has turned pictures of Israeli bombs falling on Gaza into graphic art of people mourning the destruction below them. Now the destruction caused by the bombs is itself being turned into art. Well-known Palestinian artist Raed Issa has been displaying his damaged paintings that were buried in the remains of his home in front of the rubble of his house. He is part of a group of artists called Eltiqa in Gaza that supports artists in producing art that responds to the realities of daily life in the occupied territory.

In addition, groups of young people are practicing difficult parkour moves among the rubble that remains from last summer. While the artistic exercise routine known as parkour is not new in Palestine, what these youth are doing by practicing it among the rubble of destroyed homes and schools is showing not only incredible resilience, but also constructing a narrative of resistance and endurance.

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What Nobel Prize Winner Barack Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know about Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai

Russell Watkins/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Russell Watkins/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Zack Beauchamp writes at Vox:

On Friday morning [Oct. 10], 17 year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai’s prize is well-deserved: she’s been a prominent campaigner for girls’ education for years, and survived a Taliban assassination attempt for her efforts.

But women’s education isn’t Malala’s only cause. She’s also waged a prominent campaign on a topic Americans aren’t talking much about nowadays: the drone war in Pakistan.

In characteristically bold fashion, Yousafzai brought these concerns up in a meeting with President Obama back in October 2013 — one that had originally been held to celebrate her commitment to education.

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement after the meeting — before turning to drones. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism.

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Facing Up to the Capitalist Within

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

“Prayers on deck, slaves under the deck—John Newton’s Christian slave ship.” Credit: http://emmock.com/2013/01/22/bible-blog-945/

Georgie Wingfield-Hayes writes at openDemocracy:

It’s easy to blame the economic system for causing social and environmental problems, but what is that system built on? Isn’t it us?

John Newton (1725-1807) is best known for penning the hymn Amazing Grace in the later years of his life as a minister in the Church of England. In 1788 he published a pamphlet entitled Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade, in which he spoke out strongly against what he called “a disgraceful branch of commerce.” But for much of his life Newton worked on slave ships, including four years as captain of his own vessel taking stolen African men and women to the American colonies.

Newton’s transition from slaver to minister and activist was inspired by one particular event. On a return journey to Liverpool in 1748, a great storm had threatened to sink his ship, and the fear he was forced to face affected him profoundly, changing his views about the people who were imprisoned beneath his feet.

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Chinese Announce Anti-Drone Laser System

NOTE: This is probably not how the lasers will look. andrea.pacelli (cc by-sa 2.0)

NOTE: This is probably not how the lasers will look.
andrea.pacelli (cc by-sa 2.0)

好哇!

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

In a world increasingly populated by drone aircraft, systems designed to counter such machines are increasingly on the mind of world governments.

Weapon developers in China have announced the successful testing of a ‘laser defense system’ designed to target and destroy small-scale drones, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

In a statement released Sunday by the China Academy of Engineering Physics, cited as one of the system’s co-developers, the laser system is able to “shoot down various small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius and can do so in five seconds after locating its target.”

The report in Xinhua boasted that the system has had a 100 percent success rate in trials, shooting down “more than 30 drones” during testing.

According to the report, this system would be used for anti-terrorism efforts inside the country and to destroy unauthorized “low-flying” drones that pose a threat to public safety.

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On There Not Being Enough Suffering in the World

D.T.Suzuki_Museum_08

Michael Steinberg writes at Open Salon:

As John Cage tells the story, D.T. Suzuki–the man who did the most to bring Zen to the West–was once asked by an earnest listener if he didn’t think there was too much suffering in the world. His reply was that there was exactly the right amount.

He was by no means being callous, though he may have been testy. (How much suffering would his listener have found tolerable?) Suzuki himself was far from unfeeling and he mourned his wife’s death very deeply. His point, though, was a simple one. The world is what it is, and given its history it can’t be any different. We couldn’t have this world with a different amount of suffering in it any more than we could have this world with flying monkeys. It would then be a different world and that world, too, would have exactly as much suffering in it as was necessary.

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